Fine Old Lafferty Name
According to Bell "The Surnames of Ulster",
Lafferty is exclusively an Ulster name. In 1900 it was found
only in Donegal, Derry, and Tyrone. It comes from
O'Laithbheartaigh, or "Bright Ruler". O'Lafferty or O'Laverty
are Ulster forms of the Connacht name O'Flaverty or O'Flaherty.
The F is aspirated or silent in Ulster Gaelic. Bell explains
that O'Flynn in Ulster is O'Lynn for the same reason.
The O'Laffertys were a Donegal sept. The chief
was the Lord of Aileach, famous for building the Grianan of
Aileach at the head of Lough Swilly. The first of the name was
Murchadh Ua Flaithbheartaigh, king of Tyrone, d 972. One of the
chiefs was Macraith O'Laverty, d 1197, described by the Four
Masters as the Tanist of Tyrone. This was shortly before the
chieftancy of Tyrone passed to the O'Neills. They were driven
from Donegal in the 13th century and settled near Ardstraw in
He says Laverty is found in Antrim, and comes
from MacLavertys, a sept of Clan Donald, hereditary speakers or
heralds for the Lords of the Isles. Clan Donald claims the name
was Fear Labhairt an Righ, The King's Speaker, but Black (the
Scots expert) says it is Mac Fhlaithbheartaich, which is like
the Irish name. The McLaffertys claim to be from the Kintyre
branch of the MacDonalds and were later based in Islay. You find
them in the mid 19th century in Antrim in the barony of Upper
Rev. James O'Laverty in his little booklet
written in the late l800s states the following:
"The locality to which this surname originally belonged was
Tir-Eoghain (now anglicized Tyrone (meaning Eoghain's country).
Eoghain was a brother of Conall (who gave name to Tyrconnell).
The original principality of Tyrone was much larger is size than
the present day county Tyrone. Eoghain and Conall were sons of
Niall of the Nine Hostages, monarch of Ireland from A.D. 379 to
A.D. 406. Their descendants were, in after ages, known as the
Northern Ha-Niall, while the descendants of the other sons who
had parcelled among themselves Mealth were known as the southern
Paraphrasing Rev. O'Laverty's work, he continues by saying that
the family name O'Flaherty or O'Laverty is descended from Aedh
Allan, King of Ireland from A.D. 729 to A.D. 738. A
Flaithbheartach who died A.D. 891 was a great grandson of Aedh
Allan. However, the first to bear the surname was
Flaithbeartach's grandson Murchadh Ua Flaithbheartaigh ("Ua"
designating grandson of). Murchadh was King of Tyrone and died
A.D. 972. This name is still common in the counties of Donegal,
Derry and Tyrone but by an asperation of the initial F, is now
anglicised Laverty or Lafferty. Ua Flaithbheartaigh is a
Tyronian family, but assumed its anglicized form
(Lafferty/Laverty) in more recent times.
And that is more than you may ever want to know about the